I’m sure many of you spent the holiday weekend hunting down bargains at yard sales and flea markets. I actually held my own yard sale, trying to convince other people that my trash was their treasure. Many fell for it bought lots of great stuff!! While I did not have time to actually partake in any sales this weekend, I did have a chance to stop at my local silent auction to see if any of my bids were accepted. (Happily, yes!) While there, I ventured into the rare book store to wander around. I noticed on the counter an old color fashion plate from the 1800’s. After talking to the owner, he pulled out from behind the counter a stack of women’s magazines from the late 19th century. My heart started pounding, I could hardly breathe: pages and pages of crumbly-edged Godey’s Lady’s Book and Frank Leslie’s Lady’s Magazine were before me. While these are not the quality collectors are looking for (some have covers and pages missing, crumbled pages, etc.) I HAD to have them, and that yard sale money was burning a hole in my pocket.
I first remember hearing about Godey’s Lady’s Book back as a young girl reading all of the Little House on the Prairie books by Laura Ingalls Wilder. They would sit around their little house and read outdated copies of the magazine when they could get a hold of them. Now here I was looking at the vintage issues they were likely reading.
Clutching my bundle (I couldn’t get home fast enough!), I left the store to pour over the old pages to see exactly what women read about, talked about, how they decorated, what they cooked, wore, and and purchased. I’ve only just begun, but I plan to share some of the great info I know will be found in these old issues. In the meantime, here are some pictures to tide you over:
Godey’s Lady’s Book magazines (10 various issues dated 1880-1893):
Frank Leslie’s Lady’s Magazine (5 issues from 1870):
And some other surprises in the lot,
My personal joy in finding this is indescribable. An original sewing pattern for a bodice (complete with where to put the stays) from inside Frank Leslie’s Lady’s Magazine (March 1870):
The color fashion plate I saw on the shop owner’s counter. He was going to frame it, but gave it to me with the March issue:
One day I will be brave enough to try to interpret the pattern and make a sample. Until then, I am loving on every word in each article and advertisement. I can’t wait to share them with you.
P.S. Any advice on how best to store these would be most appreciated.